Now, before you ask , I think I’d better say for the record that I didn’t actually take the wiki challenge myself yesterday. I was under a bit of time pressure for one reason and another , but I’ll be interested to hear if anyone else tried. For the record, with no preparation I found the specialists in the first show much harder than those in the second. I’m not talking about the relative difficulty of the questions – I don’t know enough about many of the subjects to comment on that – merely that in the first show all 4 contenders chose subjects about which I had no knowledge.
The first of these , the Life and Work of Thomas Jefferson-Hogg was tried by Nick Smith. I may be wrong, but I think that Nick was captain of the Bridge Players in series 4 of Only Connect. So I have to say that I was expecting a good round. I wasn’t disappointed either. Nick wisely avoided any passes at all, and supplied 13 correct answers. As we know, 13 and no passes is a competitive SS score, and will usually give you at least a shout at the halfway stage.
I must admit, I’m rather glad that I didn’t undertake the wiki challenge, for I think that if I had then I would have spent valuable time learning about the democratic egalitarian radical group which arose during the English Civil War for David Buck’s subject , The Diggers. Which would have been a complete waste since it wasn’t even about them. It was about the San Francisco anarchist collective of the mid 60s. I scored precisely zero on this round, and indeed my only point of the whole of the specialist rounds had already come and gone in Nick’s round. Just as Nick had done, David skillfully avoided scoring any passes, and his 12 was a good return.
Paul Jenkins earned the dubious honour of support from the Clark sofa when it emerged that he is from Penarth – about 30 odd miles down the road from LAM Towers. He was answering on the Life and Short Stories of Raymond Carver. Nope – never read any. Paul had, though. Alright, he sounded just a little nervous – understandably – but he too whacked in 12. Would he regret that single pass ? What a good first round this was turning out to be,
Finally Alan Clarke, who offered us Luton Town FC. I searched my meager store of facts about Luton Town – Eric Morecambe – David Pleat dancing across the pitch when relegation was avoided – but these yielded me no points whatsoever. Alan, however literally raced through the whole round. He hit top gear from the first question, and hardly relented until he had whacked in 15 correct answers, without conceding any passes. In a first round of this quality that 2 point lead looked a pretty useful advantage to have earned.
David Buck made the customary useful start to the GK round, but I’m afraid that the mid-round slump set in early, and it never released him from its vice like grip until the end of the round. His final score of 18 never looked as if it was likely to lead for much longer than another 2 and a half minutes. I managed 16 sitting on the sofa at home. I also managed 16 on the next GK round, from Paul Jenkins. Notwithstanding Paul’s nerves, which still seemed pretty much to the fore, he did what you have to do, by treating each question on its merits, answering correctly what he knew, guessing what he could guess, and passing when all else failed. This accrued a useful 12, to set the target at 24. It wouldn’t challenge for a repechage place, but it might just be enough.
Nick only had a point’s lead over Paul at the halfway stage, and after about 30 seconds I had a feeling that he wasn’t going to overtake Paul. He just wasn’t building up any head of steam. Having said that, he did manage to grit out the round to get into double figures. I have noticed that the extra half minute does seem to affect a lot of contenders. Rounds which, while maybe not world beating, are at least decent often tail off . Nick kept going, and achieved the satisfaction of getting into double figures for the GK. His 10 gave him 23. I did slightly worse on his round than the others with 15.
Alan, for his part , could afford not to get into double figures and still win if he kept his passes down to less than 2. He always looked comfortable. Of all of this show’s contenders his answering style was the crispest, quickest and probably most confident. This is not to say that his GK was better than Paul’s, but it was a good round of 12 nonetheless, which brought him the competitive total of27, and a win with daylight between himself and the chasing pack. Well done – good show.
|Nick Smith||The Life and Work of Thomas Jefferson-Hogg||13 - 0||10 - 4||23 – 4|
|David Buck||The Diggers||12 - 0||6 - 6||18 – 6|
|Paul Jenkins||The Life and Short Stories of Raymond Carver||12 - 1||12 - 3||24 – 4|
|Alan Clarke||Luton Town FC||15 - 0||12 - 4||27 – 4|